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Climate change – conspiracies are permission to deny the obvious

October 29, 2009
Pew research shows we dont beleive what we see.

Pew research shows we don't beleive what we see.

The idea that most of us don’t believe in climate change stuns and amazes me.  (I assume this applies to “global climate change” as well, and that people are not making a subtle and sophisticated distinction between “global warming” and “global climate change.”) Somehow global climate change has become a “conspiracy theory” for which expressing skepticism in public is acceptable or even intelligent.

One of the ways this has happened is that there are two types of questions that seem to be confused in much of the public discourse.  The question of “What do we see?” is a different kind of question and has a different kind of truth than “What can we infer from it?” and “What ought our response to be?”  The uncertainties are different and the type of public policy discourse around one verses the other ought to be quite different.

But for us to say we don’t believe in global climate change is simple to deny what we see.  There are many sources showing one outcome-melting ice. Here is one interesting example:

But there are many other ways to see it as well. Try to find some for yourself–that would be a responsible thing to do as part of a democracy in which we collaborate on policy decisions.

Why do we think the idea of global warming is merely a conspiracy theory? What do the promoters of the conspiracy theory gain? What is their motivation? How have we been lulled into waiting for scientists to settle a debate that isn’t going on anymore among the scientists.  The only debate seems to be among people who aren’t looking around and asking basic questions like “if a lot ice is melting, what must be the case regarding temperature?” and yet refuse to listen to experts who are.

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 29, 2009 5:44 pm

    I think there is a misunderstanding among the public as to what the new skeptics are saying. People like Freeman Dyson and Lomborg are not denying global warming, what they are saying is that it may not be worth the effort to fix. However, the public doesn’t get this point and simply thinks that they are saying there is no global warming. I’ve basically come to accept the fact that we will not do anything about it so we should start preparing for the consequences.


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